Sending two kids off to college first required overseeing the loss of forty baby teeth, watching sixty-four permanent teeth grow in, paying for orthodontics to straighten sixty-four permanent teeth, and then nursing two teenagers through the pulling of eight wisdom teeth. With all of that oral history, one might think that I would have treated the loss of Laura’s first baby tooth as nonchalantly as Laura treated it. No chance. I’ve been a ball of emotion all day, beginning with jumping up and down, hugs, and photographing the place in her gums where the tooth used to be. I have been traveling down the pathos path ever since, wondering where it will take me next. I remember like it was yesterday, walking around the house with a little baby in my arms, saying, “I have a baby. I have a baby.” I had wanted to have her for so long, for years and years, and there she was, a little tiny ball of love. Then she talked. Then she walked. In that order. Then she went to Kindergarten. Now she’s losing teeth. And after sending my first two precious babies off to college such a short time ago, and just yesterday discussing with my oldest one her upcoming graduation next June, I know how fast time flies when you’re having fun. One minute you’re putting them down in their crib, and the next minute you’re leaving them in a dorm room. These things happen overnight. And so it was that when Laura went to bed last night, she had a very loose tooth, but we all decided that it could stay in until morning, at least. We said goodnight, left her reading with her itty bitty book light, and when we came to check on her later, the light was off and resting next to the closed book on her nightstand. She was fast asleep. I went to check on her in the morning and she was awake, but still in bed. “Mommy, the tooth fairy didn’t come last night.” I almost fell over. Stunned, I replied, “Why? Did you lose your tooth?” “Well, Mommy,” Laura said, “my tooth was very loose and so I pulled it out.” I asked her why she didn’t call me or Daddy to help her. She replied, “Because I didn’t need help, but now I’m wondering why the tooth fairy didn’t come.” So I explained to her that the tooth fairy checks in with kids at bedtime, and if there is a tooth, then she comes back later and leaves money. I added that since her tooth was still in her mouth at bedtime, the tooth fairy didn’t know it was going to come out last night, but that she could count on the tooth fairy showing up tonight. And you can bet that tooth fairy will be on duty tonight, because after this she only gets nineteen more visits, and she’s going to cherish every single one of them.